Bushwalking Guidelines

General guidelines relevant to all activities including trip introduction

PURPOSE:
· To give trip leaders of LUMC bushwalking trips a framework for conducting trips.
· To provide guidelines for anyone present on a LUMC bushwalking trip.

DEFINITIONS:
- Bushwalking Trip: Event organised and undertaken by members of the LUMC where the predominant activity is bushwalking.
- Day Walk: Walk of single day duration.
- Overnight Hike: Walk involving at least one night camping away from cars.
- Trip Leader: A designated person, usually the person organising the trip, who is responsible for decisions or for the prompting of discussion about decisions related to the walk.
- Trip Organiser: Person responsible for the advertising of a trip. They are also responsible for transport arrangements such as cars/buses/boats/planes etc. are made.

TRIP PREPARATION/REQUIREMENTS
Consider communication requirements

Difficulty of walks:
Beginner trips: These walks are suitable for any able bodied person of any age with little or no bushwalking experience required. The physical demands are not great in that the walk contains any combination of short walking distance, relatively flat terrain, well-marked tracks etc. Leader decisions (see below) will take into account the limited experience of the group. Where possible, another group member should have a fair degree of bushwalking.
Intermediate trips: These walks are suitable for persons with at least some experience of bushwalking and a decent understanding of the requirements of bushwalking. The physical demands are often more than that of a beginner trip. At the trip leader’s discretion, it is quite possible for first time bushwalkers to attend provided there are enough experienced group members as well.
Advanced trips: These walks are suitable only for persons experienced at bushwalking. Advanced trips are often physically demanding either due to terrain, weather conditions or duration and a reasonable level of fitness is often required.
Notes: Given the above, there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, very fit persons with no bushwalking experience may fare as well, if not better, than experienced walkers, provided they have suitable equipment. It is up to the discretion of trip leaders to ascertain the suitability of a particular person for a particular walk.

General
The amount of preparation required for a trip depends on the duration, and degree of difficulty of the walk. As a minimum, all members of a trip should be made aware of the following details by the trip leader/organiser:
· Trip location, date, transport arrangements.
· Walk distance
· Walk difficulty
· Possible weather conditions.
In addition, any other information that may be relevant such as water restrictions in certain areas or additional equipment requirements should be provided.

Medical:
It is the responsibility of the individual on any Bushwalking activity to inform the trip leader prior to departure of any medical condition that may affect them and therefore the group. E.g. Diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, sleep-walking, haemophilia etc. If appropriate, instructions regarding emergency care should be provided. In some situations this may restrict an individuals ability to attend trips

General considerations
· Ensure everyone is made aware of the trip details to a satisfactory level.
· To have sound knowledge of the planned walk either by previous experience or through detailed track notes and maps.
· To decide on an appropriate itinerary/walking pace given the abilities and fitness of members of the group to walk.
· To ensure equipment needs of the group are met, including the possession of a suitable first aid kit.
· To make reasoned decisions in cases where they are required.
· To ensure hiking permits are carried where required.
Note: In some cases, such as trips with many experienced walkers, decisions are often made as a group and leader responsibilities are taken on by several members of the group.

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITIES
It is always up to the individual to conduct themselves in a safe, co-operative and courteous manner on trips. Individuals who fail to do so are rarely or welcomed on other trips and this should be kept in mind. To put oneself at risk also puts the group at risk if a hasty rescue is required. To be courteous to fellow bushwalkers external to the club should also be a priority for trip members.

EQUIPMENT
The equipment requirements of a trip depend on its geographic location, possible weather conditions, trip duration and group size.
The party should also carry necessary maps of the area, a compass and whistle. They should also be familiar with this equipment.

Day Trips - Upon day trips, individuals require food and water suitable for the length of the trip along with appropriate clothing for the temperature and weather. In summer for example, a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water would be considered essential. In winter, warm clothes, beanie and rain jacket would be considered essential. A first aid kit, even if basic, should be carried by the group

Overnight and Extended Trips Overnight bushwalking trips involve camping in tents and therefore a suitable tent, sleeping bag and ground mat are required in addition to the items needed for day trips. Appropriate tents and sleeping bags must be carried for the particular conditions of the particular trip, for example, a 3 season tent and sleeping bag is sufficient for most trips, but for an alpine trip, a 4 season rated tent and sleeping bag is likely to be required. However, these ratings depend very much on the individual and so shouldn't be relied upon but used rather as a guide.

Footwear: In addition to other clothing requirements, appropriate footwear for the terrain must also be worn. Whilst running shoes may be suitable for most day walks, boots may be required for extended walks where the terrain warrants extra ankle support, protection from water and uneven terrain.

CONSIDERATIONS
- Accessibility to medical assistance should be considered and appropriate first aid kit and members trained in Level 2 first aid should be included in the party where medical assistance isn't immediately accessible (but may not be a requirement for a day walk around alleys of Melbourne CBD).
- Communications
- Leaders should also have knowledge of weather conditions and insure appropriate precautions are taken for inclement weather.

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
The course of action taken in emergency cases depends on the nature of the emergency. Where injuries are concerned common sense should prevail. If the injury is small and/or easily treatable the club first aid kits will provide all necessary items. If the injury is more substantial so as to slow the movement of the group or cause the person pain then more care is required. This could involve changing trip plans so as to shorten the distance walked or lightening the injured persons pack etc. If the injury is serious such as a snake bite, broken bone, or something that stops that person from walking, the group should stop. The injured person needs to be made comfortable, as help may be some time away. Ideally, at least one person should stay with the injured person whilst at least two other people go for help. It is recommended that extended trips have a minimum of four people in attendance.

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